A new Government initiative aimed at helping promote start-ups, with the help of expert advice, has been launched this week. The ‘Growth Vouchers Programme’ will provide up to 20,000 new businesses with up to £2,000 of support and subsidies in a trial to determine the importance of business advice on start-up growth.
What is the Growth Vouchers’ Programme?
The initiative was first mentioned in the 2013 Budget, and launched by Lord Young at Somerset House yesterday.
The programme will provide selected businesses with a range of advice on topics such as leadership and management, finance and managing cashflow, recruiting and developing staff, sales marketing, and harnessing the power of technology.
If your business is selected to receive a scheme voucher worth up to £2,000, you will have to match the voucher amount with your own funds, and be prepared to take part in future surveys to help determine the usefulness of professional advice to small firms.
In an interesting twist, the scheme itself will be run via privately-run business site Enterprise Nation. Businesses will be able to redeem vouchers via the online platform, allowing business owners to access the right type of business advice for their specific needs. Enterprise Nation won an open competition, run by the Department of BIS, to provide the marketplace which will match businesses with advisors.
Which businesses are eligible?
- The new initiative is currently available to businesses registered in England only.
- Your business must have 49 employees or less.
- Your business must have been trading for at least 12 months.
- Your business must be independent (i.e. no more than 25% owned by another business).
- You must have not paid for business advisory services over the past 3 years.
The scheme is expected to run for 15 months.
You can apply to take part in the Growth Vouchers Programme via the GOV.UK site.
Alongside your contact details, you will need to have several pieces of information to hand (Company Registration Number of UTR if you’re self-employed, your business turnover figures, and VAT / PAYE references where applicable).